Finn MacCool is the legendary warrior-leader of the Fianna, a band of Irish warriors dating back to the second or third century. Finn (or Fionn Mac Cumhail) was the bravest and most generous of all who served King Cormac, a central figure in the Ossianic cycle of Irish heroic tales.

Finn and his band were superhuman and enjoyed contact with the Celtic Underworld. It is said that because he had once held the Salmon of Wisdom, Finn could receive enlightenment merely by sucking his thumb. (The Salmon of Wisdom is the incarnation of Fintan MacBochra, the only Irish survivor of the Flood, which assured him a place in the Celtic Underworld as a god of Wisdom.)

Finn MacCool is an avatar of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, the hero of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. He is represented as a Nordic/Irish giant who lies sleeping beneath Dublin, his head forming the Ben of Howth, and his feet two hills near Phoenix Park.

The book's title refers to "the wake and the awakening of Finn, that is, of our legendary Celto-Nordic hero," Joyce wrote in a March 1940 letter to his friend Fritz Vanderpyl.

Both Finn and Earwicker, who should be treated interchangeably, are powerful examples of the mature male archetype, but at they same time they are comedic, particularly as regards their relationships with women throughout the book.

References to Finn MacCool are liberally sprinkled throughout the Wake as variants on the name--Fingal; Huckleberry Finn; Tim Finnegan, of the Irish drinking song; and Finn's Hotel (where Joyce met Nora Barnacle, his wife-to-be, in 1904).

Shades of Joyce:

a nice cool glass of Joyce
Anna Livia Plurabelle
Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell
Finnegans Wake
Finn MacCool
Garry Owen
Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker
Issy the Teenage Rainbow
Lucia Joyce
Mina Purefoy
Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
Shem the Penman
Ulysses is not pornography
Volta Cinema

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